SALONEN: Cello Concerrto
Yo Yo Ma, cello. Los Angeles Phiharmonic Orch / Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond.
SONY 19075928482 TT: 36 min.

ANTHEIL: Archipelagro (1935). Symphony No. 3 "Amerian" (1936 - 1941, rev. 1946). Hot-Time Dance (1948). Symphony No 6 "after Delacroix" (1947-1948 rev. 1949-1950). Spectre of the Rose Waltz (1946, re-orchestrated 1947).
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgards, cond.
CHANDOS 10982 TT: 66:52

BRAHMS: Intermezzo in A, Op, 118 No. 2. Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105 No. 1. (arr. for clarinet and piano). WEBER: Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73. Grand Duo Concertante ni E flat, Op. 48. MENDELSSOHN: Songs Without Words Op. 85 Nos. 4 and 6, Op. 102 No. 1, Op. 30 No, 4, Op. 67 No. 3. Op. 30 No. 6, Op. 67 No. 2.
Andreas Ottensamer, clarinet. Yuja Wang, piano. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Mariss Jansons, cond.
DGG 002894836069 TT: 61;54

Esa-Pekka Salonen worked on his cello concerto for more than two years, composing it specifically for Yo-Yo Ma. It is replete with technical challenges for the soloist, and ends with the soloist playing the highest note possible on a cello, high B flat on the instrument's A string. The composer suggests this is as if it were "reaching for the stars." This episode is heard at the very end of the concerto and it is very soft: you will have to listen very carefully. The concerto is filled with "cosmic imagery" (the cover photo is very appropriate. Scored for large orchestra, the work begins with "orchestral chaos." There are many interactions between the soloist and various sections of the orchestra, particularly percussion.

The world premiere took place in Chicago in 2017. On this disk we have a live recording made in Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall February 8, 2018. No sign whatever of an audience, applause at the conclusion was edited out. Engineers have captured a rich orchestra tapestry. This is a major addition to the repertory. The only negative feature is that more music isn't included. 36 minutes is very brief playing time ]

In June 2017 this site praised a Chandos issue of major works of George Antheil with the BB Philharmonic directed by John Storgard (REVIEW). For more information about this important Amerian composer, pease check that review. Now we have the second volume in the series and it offers two major works, revised versions of Symphonies 3 and 6. We also have Antheil's well-known rhtythnic study Archipelagro, the charming Hot=Tune Dance, and the very beautiful Spetre of the Rose Waltz. Ameriana at its best here, and t in brilliant performances with state-of-the-art sonics. One mkght wish that these were multi-hannel recordings, but what is heard here is quite spectaular. Let the series continue! This site has praised many Anthil recordings; chedk the CD Index.

German born Andreas Ottensamer (1989) has enjoyed a remarkable career with orchestras and as a solo artist. Since 2011 h has been principal clarinet of the Berlin Philharmonic. His latest recording is called Blue Hour, which has virtually nothing to do with the music. The cover photo shows the handsome clarinetis in front of the sky and lake, both blue, the only true blue of this release. In CD notes, Ottensamer speaks about his instrument resembling the sound of the human voice, which also has nothing to do with this music. We do have two major works by Weber for the instrument, the Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in which he is assisted by the Berlin Philharmonic directed by Mariss Jansons, and and the Grand Duo Concertante in which he is joined by pianist Yuja Wang. The CD also includes short works of Brahms and Mendelssohn in arrangements for clarinet nd piano by the soloist. The music works well in this format . This is beautiful disk, perfectly played. well recorded.

R.E.B. (March 2019)